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You are here: Home / Mobile Phones / Microsoft's Last CES Keynote Hurrah
Ballmer Gives Last Microsoft Keynote at CES
Ballmer Gives Last Microsoft Keynote at CES
By Barry Levine / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Microsoft's final keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show on Monday night featured American Idol host Ryan Seacrest interviewing CEO Steve Ballmer, but there was no equivalent of a new song. Ballmer gave a rundown of coming Microsoft releases, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone, with the biggest news being the launch next month of the Kinect hands-free controller for Windows devices.

Microsoft has said that this will be its last CES keynote in Las Vegas, at least for a while. The tradition extends back more than a decade, but Microsoft said its product release schedule is not in sync with CES.

Playing Catch with Kinect

Kinect has been a huge hit for the company, with 18 million units sold and a new bar set for gaming -- voice and gestural control. Although the company was at first aghast at non-game hacks that turned Kinect into an interface for PCs and other devices, it has since seen the opportunity Kinect offers to leapfrog competitors in non-game spaces.

It appears that Microsoft now has big plans for the Kinect. A demonstrated game showed the Sesame Street character Grover "catching" a virtual coconut on screen, after it had been "thrown" by a child on the stage, via Kinect's gesture recognition.

Ballmer told the audience that apps are in development to use the Kinect for control of home entertainment systems, among other functions. The company has said it is already working with more than 200 corporate partners to take the controller beyond gaming, including American Express, Mattel, Toyota and United Health Group.

One of the biggest news items so far at this year's show is the new Lumia 900 from Nokia, a flagship device in the Windows Phone alliance that the handset maker has with Microsoft. The announcement of the new phone was made by Nokia in a separate press event. T-Mobile has also announced that the Nokia Lumia 710, the first Windows Phone in this country, goes on sale on Wednesday.

Two Exciting Products

Thin is in, big time, at this year's CES, and the keynote included the presentation of seven super-thin Windows 7 laptops. Intel-inspired thin and powerful Ultrabooks are expected to have a big presence at the show, which opened Tuesday.

Ballmer's biggest emphasis, as might be expected, was the coming rollout of Windows 8. A public beta is expected in February, and, as he has said before, Ballmer reiterated that 8 is the result of a "reimagined" Windows OS.

Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, who's attending CES but didn't see the keynote, said that the word is that "it was more low key than people expected."

Greengart said that, as he anticipated, two big trends so far at this year's show are LTE 4G-capable devices, and Smart TV. He also described the two "most exciting" products he's seen so far.

One, an "amazing" new set-top box with a 2-terabyte drive from Dish Network, has the ability to record every program on every major network for eight days. The other standout so far, Greengart said, is Asus' 7-inch, Tegra 3 quad-core based tablet, with Android 4.0 and a 1200-by-800 screen, that will retail for $249.

Tell Us What You Think


Carlo Broglia:
Posted: 2012-01-11 @ 12:43pm PT
There's plenty of analysts who saw the keynote. What's the point of quoting an analyst who did not see it. ???

Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, who's attending CES but didn't see the keynote, said that the word is that "it was more low key than people expected."

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